Liberty Tool: A great place to tool around

img_1203Downtown Liberty, Maine, comprises a barely handful of businesses, yet it draws visitors by the thousands each year. It’s a bargain-hunters find.

For starters, there’s Liberty Tool, a three-story building where tools fill every nook and cranny of the first floor and mingle with antiques, junktiques, books, and what-have-you on the upper floors. Across the street, the former Banks’ Garage has been reborn as the power-tool annex, a Craftsman extravaganza.

No other shop has the quantity, quality, low prices or such persnickety organization. Every tool has been cleaned, restored and grouped by type on shelves and into drawers, bins and barrels, most labeled with the specific contents: flat files, flat bastards, round files with handles, triangular files with handles, large smoothing files without handles, small smoothing files with handles, large rasps and so on. And every tool is labeled with a rock-bottom price.

The shop is a must-stop for trades-people, collectors, renovators and home hobbyists, but it’s not the only reasons to visit this sleepy loop off Route 3 between Augusta and Belfast.

img_1207Upstairs in the former Masonic Hall adjacent to the Annex is the Davistown Museum, a wealth of local history and historic tools and even artwork.

And downstairs is the outlet for Liberty Graphics, which prints tee shirts using water-based ink on organic cotton. Bins overflow with seconds, rejects, and test tee shirts for an amazing range of products and places. Tee shirts that would retail for $20 or higher are often $5 or less here. Just paw through it all and you’re bound to find one or, more likely, five you simply must have.

So, when you’re looking for something to do as November weighs heavy on the landscape, and you’re looking for innovative, yet cheap, Christmas presents for loved ones, you might brighten the bleakness and lighten your wallet in Liberty (but check the website for seasonal days and hours of operation).

Want to know more? This story I wrote in 2007 tells more about Liberty Tool and the Davistown Museum.

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